The new Trump sure looks a lot like the old Trump. Half truths and whole lies. Last night’s speech didn’t magically transform a frog into prince charming – or in this case a pragmatic president. It is a sad day in America when we have to praise our president for using words that aren’t blatantly racist and offensive. By that incredibly low threshold, sure, Trump didn’t grab any women by the pussy and he didn’t call Mexican immigrants rapist and murders. But by all other accounts Trump’s speech to Congress was awful.
Rhythm, Tone and Breathing – The Teleprompter Tale
Remember in 2011 and 2012 when Republicans criticized Obama for using a teleprompter to deliver speeches – how quickly we forget. It was pretty obvious last night that he was reading – or at least attempting to read – from a teleprompter. Not a huge deal. But all teleprompter speeches are not the same. The speed at which he reads, the times he pauses to take a breath, and the moments where he raises and lowers his voice to grab attention all impact the quality of a speech being read from a teleprompter. Trump’s awkward breathing habits, gave us some unusual pauses that broke up his sentences at the most inconvenient times. The result is a chopped up train of thought that can be difficult to discern when he is speaking from an authentic humble perspective and when he is speaking from a campaign crafted, focus group, apocryphal story.
Step back Rubio, there is a new cottonmouth king in town.
We all remember Marco Rubio’s on camera water bottle flub. For a moment, it looked like Trump was going to give us one of those moments – to be clear, it’s not the drinking from the glass that makes it a flub. It’s the awkward approach and execution. Kinda like when your dog is taking a dump and then turns and looks right at you.🤔 Every dog has to poop, just like every person has to drink water, but why you gotta make it so damn awkward. 😂
Regardless, the new cottonmouth king had difficulty articulating his words. Naturally, his reaction was to overcompensate by pro-noun-cing-his-words-mo-clear-ly. In fact, he even puts his hand in the air to punctuate each syllable with his classic Trumpian finger gesture. When he overcompensates it throws off his already awful rhythm and comes across as a soulless politician reading words that aren’t connected to feelings.
On the spectrum of all-time great teleprompter speeches Trump’s delivery would have to rank as one of the worst.
The Best Moment of The Night
For many, the best moment of the night came from Trump’s touching acknowledgement and recognition of Chief Petty Officer William (Ryan) Owens, who was killed in Yemen during a Trump approved raid. Trump spoke directly to Ryan’s wife Carryn Owens, whose raw emotions were undeniably heartbreaking to watch. There is no doubt that Carryn deserves all of the support and well-wishes that she received.
However, like most things Trump tries to talk about we are only given half of the picture. Chief Owens father has been an outspoken critic of Trump following his son’s death. Specifically, Chief Owens father questions why Trump, a week into his presidency, would green light such a risky secret operation. He, like many others, have taken great issue with Trump deflecting the blame for his sons death.
Literally hours before Trump was to deliver this speech, he was interviewed on Fox & Friends regarding the secret operation which led to the death of Chief Owens. When Trump was asked about Mr. Owen’s criticism, this is what Trump had to say: “This was a mission that was started before I got here. This was something they wanted to do,” referring to “the generals.” “And they lost Ryan.”
So lets get this straight, Trump approves a raid in Yemen which ultimately led to the death of Chief Ryan. Trump claims that the raid is a HUGE success and that we should all praise him for his decision making. The father of Chief Ryan ask Trump to take responsibility for the operation that Trump approved, which killed his son. Trump responds by saying that Obama is really to blame because all this started before he got there. Hours after making this statement, Trump exploits Chief Ryan’s wife by putting on an Oscar worthy performance in front of Congress, giving the impression that he has taken responsibility for what happened. Seriously, move over Casey Affleck there is a new womanizer in town.
So which is it? Does Trump’s words matter – because if they do then he needs to be held accountable for dodging responsibility for the raid that he authorized. If Trump’s words don’t matter, then well, all the warm and fuzzy things he said during his speech amount to nothing more than a pile of poop. 💩 Can’t have it both ways.
Conclusion: Damaged-Goods Trump
There is no such thing as new Trump. As Jon Stewart noted recently, people don’t tend to get less racist as they get older. Trump’s speech yesterday doesn’t erase the terrible things he has said and done. Nothing in Trump’s speech suggest that he is ready to take responsibility for contributing to the trivial fights of our time. What we saw last night was a President whose administration is leaking left and right, and whose policy proposals can’t withstanding judicial scrutiny. This version of Trump is a scotch tapped together box of lemon drops being sold as if they are brand new.
The question I keep asking myself today is, how many people were fooled?